College Blog: What happens after the Freshman 15?


A lot of exercising? If only the answer was that simple. As a college student, it's extremely difficult to find time to work out. Mix that with a plethora of unhealthy food options available and even my tiniest of friends found themselves "heavier" at the end of their freshman year. The problem? Healthy eating on the RIT campus is a real challenge and maintaining your weight doesn't necessarily get easier as you leave your first year behind.

Take it from someone who knows. At the beginning of my first year, I was a size zero. While I definitely could have afforded to gain a few pounds, the weight definitely didn't come in the way that I would have liked.

Instead, stress eating, the lack of time I had to exercise, and a few too many late night orders to Zonies really caught up with me. Let's just say by the end of my freshman year, most of my clothes were being shipped off to Plato's Closet and I was begging my mom to take me on a shopping trip.

To top it off, I wasn't even living on campus. I didn't have to adjust to being out of the house and in an unfamiliar place, or adapt to only eating what my meal planallowed. According to psychotherapist Staci Herrick, those changes can usually be blamed for increased eating.

"Many students seek comfort in food to quell the increased academic pressure, feelings of homesickness, and challenge of securing new friendships/romantic relationships," says Herrick.

For junior Sarah Bono of Geneseo, her freshman meal plan was ultimately her demise.

"When the wokery is always there, and it's not something you are used to eating every day, it becomes new and exciting," says Bono.

But then it becomes habit, she says.

While she did acknowledge that Gracie's, RIT's freshman dining hall, does offer healthy food options, she said that by mid-year she was addicted to eating pizza and fried foods.

"Eventually you get lazy and it's a never-ending cycle of eating these unhealthy foods," says Bono.

Now that I'm in my third year, I'd like to think I've found some sort of balance between college life, healthy eating, and working out. I've found that packing snacks, and meals when necessary, the night before classes helps a lot. I kind of feel like I'm back in high school, but at least I've found use for my Vera Bradley lunch box again.

I've learned that if I don't work out in the morning, it's probably not going to happen -- unless I have a wellness class scheduled for later that day. Luckily, RIT requires you to take two wellness classes before you graduate. Think gym class, but you get to pick what you want to do.

I've become addicted to spinningand now sign up for it every quarter. If I don't have any time to work out throughout the week, at least I know I'll get some sort of physical activity through my spinning class.

RIT students also have free access to the gym and students can often be seen running the three-mile loop that wraps around campus. There's definitely not a lack of resources to maintain a healthy weight. It's the time that doesn't exist.

The "Freshman 15" could easily be renamed the "Declaration of Independence," says Herrick, explaining that this is the first time many freshman are in charge of their own lives and daily decisions.